Seven Samurai has too many Samurai. Kurosawa reportedly put together incredibly detailed dossiers for each of the leads, but unfortunately, I’m not interested in how Kambei likes his rice, or what Kikuchiyo’s favourite colour is. One of them got shot and I didn’t even realise, until I thought to myself, “I thought this film was supposed to have seven Samurai…” The body count by the end leaves only three alive, but I couldn’t pick them out of a line-up. And that has nothing to do with the fact that I can’t tell Asians apart.
As one of the earliest modern action films, there’s a lot you’d recognise as genre staples. Identical extras screaming and running in every scene. A completely unnecessary romantic subplot. Character revelations that are swept under the rug almost as abruptly as they’re unearthed. Shitty wise-cracks and slapstick comedy that the characters find excessively hilarious. Bromance. Quick-cut editing techniques causing you to question who’s on screen and whether you should be rooting for them. Need I say more?
But that explains it. I think this film has a place at number twenty because it’s considered to be the first modern action film. Because people think they owe it to action films to like it. But I don’t think they do. I didn’t dislike Seven Samurai, but there are more than nineteen better films. I can appreciate it, but it doesn’t belong in the top 250 films of all time.